The GOOD NEWS Letter
Number 2 April 20, 1943
A personal letter to all the brethren of The Churches of God, from your pastor, co-laborer, and fellow-servant in Christ, Herbert W. Armstrong, Box 111, Eugene
GREETINGS! brethren, in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Again I am writing the Good News-LETTER on the train, in the very heart of the awe-inspiring and magnificent Canadian Rockies.
We are on our way home, again filled with JOY and reverent GRATITUDE for the continuing blessings of God's grace! If we sincerely dedicate our lives to HIM, keep our hearts honest toward God, and strive to do His will and those things that are pleasing in His sight, then it seems that even the Eternal Creator cannot do enough to bless us! I am reminded of those passages in the first chapter of Ephesians I have loved to read to you so often, -- how God bestows upon us every spiritual blessing within the heavenly sphere!
He has certainly been with us, and blessed us, -- and protected and preserved and prospered His work, on this trip! We faced the gravest crisis that has yet confronted this work. It appeared that the work had been set back at least a year. No human effort could have saved it. But God heard our prayers. He answered and saved it not only, but gave it a great leap forward, until now we are on TWO of the nation's eleven nationally-cleared channels over super-power 50,000-watt stations at 9:00 P.M. Sunday nights (Coast time), and the Message now goes out over NINE stations -- two of the nation's most powerful 50,000-watt exclusive channel stations; two 10,000 watt stations, one 5,000, two 1,000-watt stations, and two 250-watt local stations!
I found it necessary to come home by way of Minneapolis, on one of the northern routes, so I could see the manager of the 50,000-watt station of Minneapolis. For some time I have been wanting to see some of the Canadian stations, looking into the possibility of adding them later on -- and so when I found we could just as well return via Minneapolis, and then Canadian Pacific, through Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, and Vancouver, and at no increase in train fare, I had our tickets rerouted and we are making the journey home through Canada. For a day and a night we traveled over the flat prairies of wheat land, but today we are winding through the marvelous, majestic, thrilling Canadian Rockies. We have passed Banff and Lake Louise, and are now back into Coast time and west of the Continental Divide. The spectacular thrills of these scenic mountains, revealing some of the Creator's matchless handiwork, provides a fitting climax to the thrill of gratitude we have experienced as the result of God's intervention and great blessings He has bestowed upon us this trip. How grateful and thankful we are! How we praise Him for His goodness and His wonderful works toward men!
How tragic that there are enemies who fight this work -- would break it up if God permitted -- would even sow the seeds of discord among brethren and divide us and tear up God's work in every possible way to satisfy their personal aspirations and to vent their jealousies! Such mis-directed and destructive effort is truly tragic at a time of world-crisis such as this. But I thank God, I have never had to take time away from the work to which He has called me to fight back, or try to protect myself from enemies -- I have always been able to leave them to the Eternal, who fights all our battles for us, and to devote my entire time to the great CONSTRUCTIVE work of warning this nation of impending judgment, and to proclaim the GOOD NEWS of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD, and to the saving of souls and the UPBUILDING and strengthening of the brethren! And it is indeed encouraging inspiration when GOD BLESSES THE WORK OTHERS CONDEMN AND WOULD DESTROY! Somehow, after receiving these almost unbelievable blessings, I cannot believe God is nearly as angry with me as some of my enemies. Yes, we are grateful beyond words, and filled with praises and with JOY!
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
And now, since this is just an intimate and personal letter to our own inner-family of brethren, I want to tell you what has happened.
We had just arrived in Hollywood and I had started broad- casting daily, Monday through Friday at 5:15 P.M., over KMTR. Two days after we arrived Dorothy called up from the office to tell me she had very bad news -- a letter had just arrived from WHO, cancelling our contract on two weeks' notice!
It was indeed bad news -- almost FATAL news! It would have set the work back a year, reduced it to a local work again. It caught us at a time and under circumstances such that I do not know how or when we might have managed to get started again on another super-power 50,000 watt station. We would have lost all contact with a national audience of hundreds of thousands, and how we might have re-established contact with them I do not know. The situation is this: it always takes six to eight months before any new station becomes self-supporting financially. We had been on WHO just over six months. We were not yet receiving enough from our new WHO listeners to pay the expense of broadcasting over that station. Among these hundreds of thousands of listeners are many who will, if we continue to have contact with them, become regular co-workers within the next thirty, sixty, or ninety days -- and we had been expecting a decided and sorely-needed "LIFT" from that source as soon as the current PLAIN TRUTH is completely mailed out. To be cut off, and lose all contact with them just now, would hit us an almost fatal financial blow.
When we started on WHO, the last of August, we were prepared to absorb the additional expense of station charges for time, even though this was very heavy. What we had not anticipated, and were NOT prepared for, was the expense of handling the amazing mail response we have received. The very success of the broadcast almost choked the work and put it out. We were sending out "The United States in Prophecy" booklet, and the cost of entering each new name on the mailing list, including cost of stencil and cutting for the addressing-machine system we use, and cost of printing and mailing one copy of "U.S. in Prophecy" and one copy of "The PLAIN TRUTH" is about 10 cents. Our programs on WHO brought in an average of close to 1,000 new names per week -- one broadcast alone brought 2,200 letters and cards! This overwhelming mail-response, which radio men consider phenomenal, added an unexpected hundred dollars a week to our expenses. We had to employ additional typists in the office, buy new equipment, desks and chairs.
And now, just as we had weathered the storm, -- just as we were expecting a definite increase in tithes and offerings received with the mailing of this issue of The PLAIN TRUTH, so that we could add another super-power station -- WHO canceled! It would have left us where we simply could not have financed any other station, because a different station would not reach the SAME listeners, -- would not send in any money for months -- we would have lost contact with those listeners who have become interested sufficiently to begin, now, to support the work and give it another leap ahead.
When I received the letter from the sales manager of WHO, next day in Hollywood, it appeared a hopeless case. After reading it, it seemed IMPOSSIBLE to alter their decision to cancel. It happens that a government war-time measure has reduced the paper supply to newspapers and magazines 10% under last year. This reduces the amount of advertising space they have to sell. On the other hand, because money spent for advertising is exempt from heavy war-time income taxes imposed upon big corporations, there is a tendency to spend many millions of added dollars in advertising just now. This is causing the big national advertisers to use every pressure to buy more time on radio stations for their commercially-sponsored programs. The WHO letter stated that, due to this increased demand for radio time by big corporations doing national advertising, they were going over their schedules, and found they were carrying too many religious programs, and therefore found it necessary to cancel.
Well, we were stunned. But I know this was another seemingly hopeless difficulty -- "but the LORD delivers us out of them all" -- so we immediately committed this crisis into God's hands, then tried to do what seemed best as my part. It turned out that what I did didn't help much -- part of it hindered -- but God heard, and as always, He ANSWERED, and saved us from all our fears!
Our tickets were routed via Shreveport and Chicago. As I told you in the first News-LETTER, I had hoped to add station KWKH at Shreveport, La., and perhaps also WJJD, Chicago, on this trip. Station KWKH would only reach out over a part of the vast territory reached by WHO, but it seemed more necessary now than ever that we start on KWKH before our last broadcast over WHO, so we could tell listeners where to find us.
I went to the ticket office for a train reservation. Every available space was taken for four days ahead, but, to show you how God works things out when we trust Him, someone had called up and canceled a reservation a matter of seconds before I reached the ticket office, and so we got reservations for the very next morning! I was up until after midnight making transcriptions for Sunday broadcasts so we could catch that train!
Things didn't work out at Shreveport, or Chicago. Both stations liked the program, and found it acceptable. KWKH offered me the very excellent time of 8 to 8:30 P.M. It was TOO excellent, because at that hour the price is $165.00 per broadcast. We couldn't afford it. I had hoped to secure a low-cost LATE night time, and at the local rate, (one-half the national rate), through one of the local merchants. But they would not give us this rate, and had no time open but 8:00 P.M. In Chicago, WJJD has a rate of $48.00 prior to 9:00 A.M. Sunday mornings, but this time was all contracted a year ahead. They offered me 9:00 to 9:30, but the price was nearly $90.00.
Station KWKH is not a nationally-cleared-channel station. It is what is called by radio men a clear-channel station (50,000 watts), but it is actually a cleared REGIONAL channel, only. By that I mean its channel is cleared for its region, but there are also stations in Vancouver, B.C., Pontiac, Michigan, Minneapolis, and in New York City also on its channel. Its channel is clear through the South only, and therefore its transmitter is DIRECTIONAL -- that is, directs its power east and west through the South. Thus it does not reach into the North, or the East or Mid- west or Pacific Northwest with much power.
But station WHO has a nationally-cleared channel. By that I mean there is no other station ANYWHERE on its channel. Its 50,000 watts are beamed out in ALL directions. And in every state it can be gotten without interference from any other station. There are MANY super-power 50,000 watt stations in the United States. Some of them are KNX, KFI, KPO, and KIRO on the Coast, and also stations such as KSL, Salt Lake, and KOA, Denver. But, powerful as we think of these stations being, NONE OF THEM HAS A NATIONALLY-CLEARED CHANNEL -- and therefore none of these stations, powerful as we think of them on the Coast, reaches out with ANY- THING like the power or distance of a station like WHO. I wonder if our brethren have realized just HOW powerful a station WHO really is. There are only eleven of these exclusively clear channels in all the United States! All the other 50,000 watt super-power stations have interference from other stations on their channel.
We arrived at Des Moines with NOTHING to take the place of WHO. I went to the station, but the sales manager was not in. I waited an hour, but they then informed me he was not coming back that day. Had I seen him, all would have been definitely lost! Next morning, the general MANAGER of the station called up by telephone at the hotel, asking me to come and see him. I found him very friendly, and gathered that he personally liked our broadcast. After going into it with him, showing him what an injustice it would work on us, he agreed to let us continue. He called up the sales-manager who had written the cancellation letter, at his home, told him of our agreement and told him he would like his approval and co-operation in it. The sales-manager came right down. He was furious. "You sure took it up with the right man," he said to me. "Mr. Maland is the boss." He fought to change Mr. Maland's agreement with me, and I fought to retain it. Our fate hung by a thread, because Mr. Maland, while friendly personally, did not appear to wish to antagonize his sales manager, and he was determined. I was asked to step out and let them discuss it privately. I was ushered into the audition room. While they threshed it out, I knelt and prayed. Mr. Maland compromised -- agreed to let us remain on until the expiration of our year's contract in August, and to this the sales manager finally agreed.
And so, we STILL have to seek God's intervention, or we shall have to leave WHO in August. But it gives us opportunity, in the meantime, to continue long enough to make WHO financially support the addition of one or two other super-power stations. It gives four and a half months to try to bring pressure through Dr. Palmer, who owns the station, and through Mr. Maland, who I believe is my friend, to find a way to renew the contract for another year -- and 4 1/2 months to get established on other stations reaching the entire country.
After this I made a few long distance calls to other stations. There are nationally-cleared-channel stations in St. Louis, in Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Chicago, and one in San Antonio, Texas. The one at St. Louis is owned by C.B.S., and closed to religious broadcasts. The ones in Chicago are excessive in cost -- from $250 up to $750 per broadcast, depending upon time of day. All of them except the one at San Antonio, cost over $100 per broadcast, even at their lowest rate for any time of day, 11:00 P.M. or after.
I noticed that station WOAI, San Antonio, had a published rate of $48.60 from 11:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. I called them up by long distance, contacted the sales manager, found 11:00 P.M. was OPEN! So, after the next Sunday night Broadcast over WHO, I caught the midnight train for Kansas City and San Antonio, arriving there Tuesday morning. The manager of WOAI listened to auditions of two of our transcribed programs. He complimented me on the programs, and after questioning me as to our policies, the nature of our work, etc., said the program was acceptable. And then, -- to show you how God goes before and works out things for His work -- he said they had just published a new rate-card. It INCREASES the rates for all time except the period between 11:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M., which was decreased still lower -- enough lower to save us over $300 per year under the present rate, and he offered me the benefit of this new lower rate -- far less than HALF that of any other 50,000 watt nationally-cleared-channel station! He said he would have his secretary make out the contracts the next day, and mail to our office in Eugene for me to sign and return. And I have learned from the office that the contracts are now there awaiting my signature. We decided to start the first broadcast on WOAI Sunday night, May 2nd.
Station WOAI is second ONLY to WHO in value to us. It will cover FAR more territory than KWKH at Shreveport. I have heard it many times in Eugene. I talked to a number of people in Des Moines, all of whom say they often tune in on WOAI. While at Des Moines we visited our brethren Les and Lily Smith (members of Eugene Church) and they, too, often listen to WOAI. If it reaches into Iowa and Oregon, it must also reach into Canada. Its spot on the dial is almost as good as WHO -- 1200 on the dial -- and like WHO, there is no other station anywhere on that spot -- 1200 on the dial.
And so now, at 11:00 P.M. Sunday nights in the middle- west -- 9:00 P.M. on the Coast -- TWO of the nation's eleven completely-clear channels will be carrying "The WORLD TOMORROW" broadcast!
Instead of coming home with the work reduced to a local Coast work we are coming home with the work MIGHTILY STRENGTHENED, thanks to the intervention and working-out of God!
But, in the eventuality that we are unable to renew our contract with WHO next August, I realized that we need also the addition of another 50,000 watt station in the NORTH central part of the country, because station WOAI is too far south to completely fill the place of WHO alone. There is NO one station that can replace WHO. And the only logical station was KSTP in Minneapolis, location and cost considered. At 11:00 P.M. this station has a rate almost the same as WHO, under $100. It is not, however, a nationally-cleared channel station, but, coupled with WOAI and other stations we can add later, will cover the nation and Canada in case we are forced off WHO. KSTP is a super-power 50,000 watt station. It has same power and regional-clear channel as KNX, KPO, and KSL.
So we went to Davenport to see one of the closest personal friends of the owner of WHO, who happens to be one of our most interested listeners and co-workers, to go thoroughly into the WHO situation, and this friend is planning now on how to get this before the owner of WHO in such a way that we shall be able to renew our contract. We shall do all we can, of course, then commit it to God, and if He still wants His program on the air on WHO, the way will be opened for us by August. Will all you brethren PRAY to that end?
Then next day we were in Minneapolis on the way home. The sales manager of KSTP told me they had, three months ago, adopted this policy being urged by the powerful organized groups representing the organizations of Catholics, Jews, and Protestants, and would not sell time for religious broadcasts. However, he did grant the courtesy of listening to a transcribed program I had with me. After hearing it he complimented me highly on the program, said we had something original, and above all INTERESTING and a good radio production. He said our program was so much better than the average run of religious broadcasts, that he would classify it as a news analysis and philosophical program, so as to get around their rule not to accept religious programs, and that he would accept "The WORLD TOMORROW" program. So, God is still paving the way! We are not yet ready to add this station, but he said that, if I wish to contract with them within the next three or four months, he would be glad to have us on the station!
And so after that, I felt that we could continue on home rejoicing in the Lord! Yes, happy and filled with joy over His unmistakable blessings! Let's all GET BACK OF THIS WORK, with our PRAYERS, our tithes and offerings, every way we can! Let's keep LOVE in our hearts, and retain that tie that binds us together in Christ! For who can SEPARATE us from that LOVE? Let's press on to ever greater heights. GOD'S WORK MUST GO ON, with increasingly multiplied POWER!
Herbert W. Armstrong